Diphtheria By: brooke allison

Diphtheria is a bacterial disease.


  • Similar to those of the common cold.
  • A thick, gray coating on the throat & tonsils
  • A fever
  • Chills
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • A loud, barking cough
  • A sore throat
  • Bluish skin
  • Drooling
  • A general feeling of uneasiness or discomfort
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Changes in vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Signs of shock, such as pale & cold skin, sweating, & a rapid heartbeat.

What system does it infect?

Affects the mucous membranes of the throat & nose.

& somtimes the skin.

Is it lethal?

Yes, when left untreated it can cause severe damage to the kidneys, nervous system, & heart.

In 3% of cases it is deadly.

Is Diphtheria chronic or acute?

It is an acute infection because the symptoms worsen & appear rapidly.

What causes Diphtheria?

Corynebacterium diptheriae, a bacterial microorganism that has strains that contain toxins.

When toxins are released the cite of the infection will begin to have destroyed tissue.

How is spread?

Diphtheria is spread only through humans through contact with droplets in the air, secretion of the nose & throat, & infected & damaged skin.

Treatment Options:

  • Antitoxin injection- to counteract the toxin produced by the bacteria.
  • Antitoxin neutralizes the poison circulating and prevents the disease from getting worse.
  • However, it does not get rid of toxin that is already attached to the body's tissues.
  • Other antibiotics may be used, for example, erythromycin & penicillin.

How common is Diphtheria in the united States?

Only 5 cases of diphtheria were reported to the CDC in the past decade.

Other areas of the world where it is more common?

It is only common in countries where fewer people have had the vaccination.

Examples: South Asia & Africa

Cited webpages:

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